Recently Hyundai apologized for a UK commercial, featuring the company’s latest vehicle, the ix35 crossover, which completely runs on hydrogen fuel. The ad shows a middle-aged man starting his car while sitting on the driver’s seat, parked inside the garage with the exhaust pipe feeding in the car’s cabin. The person starts taking a long deep breath and closes his eyes as fumes starts filling inside the cabin. Suddenly, the garage light turns on and the person walks out of the garage, followed by the tagline “100% water emissions”.
The controversial ad came to light when a London blogger wrote a letter to the company and berated them for use of bilious tricks to publicise their product. The blogger was traumatized after watching the ad as her father committed suicide in the same way as shown in the commercial. However Hyundai apologized for the incident, saying “deeply and sincerely apologizes for the offensive viral film” and claims that the video was created by a marketing firm, Innocean Europe “without Hyundai’s request or approval,” and notes that it “runs counter to our values as a company and as members of the community”.
While it might not be Hyundai’s fault completely, the company should ensure they have a clear cut hand in developing new advertisements, as such incidents can cause harm to the Korean brand’s market image. Hyundai has often been very quick in accepting its mistake and putting forward a public apology before matters get out of hand. The company indeed does know how to respond in terms of crisis, which is impressive for an auto giant as big as Hyundai. The company handled the over statement of mileage figures issue very promptly as well.